India continued their dream run at the Asian Shooting Championships as they earned their 14th and 15th Olympic quota places on Sunday when Angad Bajwa (gold) and Mairaj Khan (silver) confirmed themselves of medals in men’s Skeet event in Doha.
Bajwa and Khan were tied with a score of 56 at the end of the final rounds before Bajwa edged his more experienced compatriot in a shoot-off for gold. Kuwait’s Habib Saud won bronze and the third available quota place.
This was after both overcame a marathon eight-way Shoot-off for three final qualification spots. Mairaj won that one hitting 38 birds straight to overcome Habib who missed his 38th, even has Angad bagged the sixth and final spot hitting 25 straight.
Both Mairaj and Angad had posted scores of 120 out of 125 in qualification.
Speaking on behalf of both after the effort, Mairaj said: “It was not easy, particularly in the qualifying Shoot-off but I was very confident and had prepared well for this competition.”
He added, “So had Angad and I was very confident of him as well. Before the competition I had told everyone that both Angad and me would win quotas and I am happy that it came true.”
It was a fitting finish to a massive day for Indian Shooting and also brought to the fore what symbolizes the sport in India today - a fantastic mix of experience of youth.
India were assured to have a record number of quotas in shooting at an Olympic event ever when Aishwary Tomar clinched India’s 13th quota place with a bronze medal in Men’s 50m rifle 3 positions event earlier in the day.
The contingent further added to the haul with what is the country’s best result at the Asian Championship skeet event, according to National Rifle Association of India. These two quota places are the first ones earned in shotgun events with the earlier 13 coming from pistol and rifle events.
India had earned 13 quota places for the Rio Olympics in 2016 which was a record then but in 2020, the contingent is set to shatter that record.
With the skeet result, India have seen six shooters book their ticket to Tokyo from the Asian Championship alone after Deepak Kumar (Men’s 10m air rifle), Chinki Yadav (Women’s 25m pistol), Tejaswini Sawant (Women’s 50m 3-positions rifle) and Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar (Men’s 50m 3-positions rifle).
Earlier on the day, in another Olympic event, India enjoyed a one-two finish as well. In the 10m mixed team air pistol event, Manu Bhaker/Abhishek Verma won gold medal while Yashaswini Singh/Saurabh Chaudhary clinched silver after an all-Indian gold medal match.